Homeowner vows lawsuit following removal of ‘eyesore’
January 12, 2010
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Long after the Angora fire stopped burning and state politicians completed their post-disaster rounds through the South Shore, the large sign tacked onto the side of two-story house at 1008 Eagle Lane remained.
The black and red lettered vinyl sign covered much of the exterior wall of the house and chastised State Farm Insurance and California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner for their responses to the fire.
The building’s one time resident, local real estate agent Sue Abrams, said she posted the sign to tell people that State Farm violated the terms of her insurance policy by not paying for the clean up of the house, which is uninhabitable due to smoke damage, Abrams said.
On Monday, the sign was removed as a part of an effort by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and County’s Code Compliance division to correct what had become a “community eyesore,” said Lt. Les Lovell in a statement.
“For over two years a negative, bill board sized, political sign has been posted on the exterior wall facing Lake Tahoe (Boulevard) at the corner of Eagle Lane,” Lovell said. “The owner of the property wanted to make a statement, and for a long time the neighbors respected her First Amendment Rights. Weeks turned into months, and months into years, yet the sign remained long after other property owners in the area were trying to rebuild, put the fire behind them, and move on with life.”
The sign was removed following complaints from neighbors this fall regarding the abandoned house becoming a “nuisance to children and/or a harborage for wild animals,” Lovell said.
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Following “unproductive” attempts to work with Abrams regarding the removal of the sign and a December foreclosure on the property, a plan to “secure the residence in accordance with the County’s Vacant Building Ordinance” was developed with local Wells Fargo Branch Manager Christine Fox, Lovell said.
In addition to the removal of the sign, work began on Monday to “remedy the structural and aesthetic issues at the property” to make the “neighborhood a safer place,” Lovell said.
Abrams said she was advised by an attorney to stop making mortgage payments and include the value of the house in an upcoming lawsuit against State Farm.
The real estate agent maintains she still owns the property and is “looking forward” to suing the county because of the removal of the sign.
Local State Farm representative Dick Horn did not return request for comment Tuesday morning.